Most of us don’t learn to use shaving soap until we’ve mastered the “bachelor’s shave” with a cheap-o disposable razor and canned shaving cream. So, don’t take it to heart if you’re looking at your new block of shaving soap and have no idea what to do with it.

Here’s a starter look at do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while using shaving soap:

Do #1: Soak Your Implements in Warm Water

“Implements” being your brush and soap, of course. For best results, prep a small bowl of warm water and pop your brush and soap in there together for approximately 10 minutes. You can do this while you’re showering. So, by the time you’re done, it’s time to shave.

Allowing the soap to sit gives it time to soften up so you can easily get it onto the brush. This process also softens the bristles for the same effect. This means you’ll spend much less time loading the suds onto your brush, and you’ll have better quality suds to boot.

Do #2: Build Lather Before You Try to Shave

You’ll be a little disappointed if you try to shave before you lather the soap. Shaving soaps need some encouragement to create foam or lather, but they are well worth it. This type of soap gives you the creamiest, softest shave you can imagine.

This process is a little bit more involved than simply pressing a button and getting instant foam in the palm of your hand. Take your soaked soap and brush, press the brush into the soap firmly enough to splay the bristles out side-to-side, and rub it in a vigorous circular motion.

Watch as the lather builds up. It takes some time and a little elbow grease, but your face will thank you.

Do #3: Choose a Light Fragrance

You typically wear cologne on your neck, which is pretty close to your face. As such, it’s common for strongly-scented shaving soaps to mingle with the cologne, creating a less-than-desirable fragrance.

Avoid this easily by choosing a lightly-scented or fragranced soap that will wear off over time. This prevents it from overpowering your cologne and creating a monster that nobody in the office wants to smell.

Don’t #1: Use Hard Water

Got hard water? Prepare to ruin your straight razor and have an extremely frustrating lathering process. It can be difficult to make shaving soap lather up with hard water as it can also create mineral deposits on your razor, dulling it prematurely.

If you have hard water, don’t fret too much; simply pick up a jug of distilled water before your next shave, and you’ll be golden.

Don’t #2: Expect the Same Type of Foam as Shave Creams

If you spend forever working up your lather with the goal of a creamy, thick white foam, you’re going to lose a lot of time.

Know what shaving soap foam looks like before you get started. It’s more watery than shaving cream, and is similar to the soapy lather you get when washing your hair or body with bar soap or body wash. This will help you know when to stop so you don’t overwork your lather.

Don’t #3: Feel Pressured To Use Any One Method or Product

Shaving this way is a personal process, and that’s what so many men love about it. There are hundreds of shaving soaps and safety razors on the market, and that means one for every type of man.

Take your time trying out different shaving soaps and products, as well as different lathering methods. You’ll quickly discover that there is a method out there that perfectly complements your daily routine. Make it yours!

Wet shaving can require a little more time than a regular shaving process, so enjoy it and take your time figuring out what works for you.

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